The Victorian Era 3 Chapter 2.
The personal essay is not dead, but has it traded politics for style? Smaller than an apple seed, crumb-sized—if that—it stands six stories high. Six windows going up: One can see the author chasing down a shallow sort of mimesis, willing her readers to join her as she double-checks and sometimes triple-checks the emoji so that we too might experience the starts and stops and pauses of her heart.
More than a fad and more than a form, we might think of the personal essay as a contract between reader and writer. Most of these statements arrive as metaphors that substitute nonsense for sense, preciousness for persuasion. Is the writer a reliable witness to the past? Can she ever truly know the human beings she writes about?
Can she ever truly know herself? But for whose benefit? In a sense, there is nothing unique about the pose Too Much and Not the Mood strikes—and this is the real problem.
For a certain breed of personal essayist at work today, there exists a necessary and desirable trade-off between aesthetic clarity and moral complexity; a bargain premised on the depressing notion that words are always insufficient to the task at hand and so we may as well stop trying to choose the clearest or most precise ones.
The adjective that best captures the conditions of this bargain is messy. However imprecise this statement of equivalence may be, one suspects that it has been thoroughly internalized by personal essayists today who elide aesthetic judgments—judgments about the formal or stylistic features of prose—with ethical and subjective ones that assess the character of the human being who would produce such prose.
Theirs was a mass demonstration of newly acquired cultural capital over and above any aesthetic or political purpose they may have had for putting pen to paper in the first place. If one can set aside her disdain, there is a larger point: Yet the shamelessness with which the bargain is brokered these days can leave a reader feeling like something cheap and tawdry is at work: More than the lack of conviction or the preciousness of prose, it is the peacocking of the author that chafes.
What should we make of writing that serves primarily, and sometimes exclusively, to present the author as a more admirably complicated type of human subject than others? Now the most poignant thing about the state of the personal essay was its loss.
Lucky for us, the universe of the personal essay is not as young as Tolentino believes it to be, and not everyone who inhabits it hounds their readers into choosing between a total lack of purpose and an interesting prose style. There is plenty of material here to mine for dramatic revelation.
But Gaitskill is anything but shy. Somebody with a Little Hammer offers strong aesthetic judgments about music, movies, and literature in a tone that brooks no disagreement. It is the graceful acceptance of psychic irretrievability—the impossibility of knowing what may or may not touch the imagination; what may or may not undo the soul.Yet each admits a sliver of light into the theater of tragic automata and lets it dance, briefly, with abandon.
To Gaitskill’s list, we might add “The Bridge: A Memoir of Saint Petersburg”—one of only a small handful of memoirs in Somebody with a Little Hammer. - American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman - leader of the abolitionist movement - stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.
For this piece of coursework I will explore and explain five tense and dramatic scenes from the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Using these scenes I will explain how a production at the Globe Theatre could have been presented to the audience of the time, to maximise the drama and the characterisations.
The Dutch Boers and the British arrived in Southern Africa in , and they gradually spread inland, taking possession of a virtually empty land, as the first permanent settlement was built by the Dutch in .
The ending to ‘Of Mice and Men’ is tragic yet inevitable. George and Lennie’s dream was to own large amounts of land, and tend animals, of which the tending the rabbits, Lennie was most interested in.
- In Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, foreshadowing is used throughout the whole book and gradually preparing us for the tragic end by constantly hinting about the inevitable tragedy that awaits the pair, especially Lennie Small.